How to design a great business HR Strategy

The competitive and performance driven organization always set up a great HR team that creates an excellent HR Strategy. This company always invest in the people management practices. However, even the best business in the world does not implement a great strategic piece of work in one go. It represents the commitment of the leaders to design and develop a great one. The leader takes over the ownership of the entire exercise. It is not just a just a job of Human Resources. It can prepare the one, but the leadership team has to own it and demonstrate the accountability. It is a source of the long-term competitive advantage. All leaders in the firm have to implement particular projects and initiatives. The HR team has to play the role of the glue to ensure that the big picture makes the sense.

It often happens that the people misinterpret the strategic planning and the strategy. These terms are not same. The higher in the organizational hierarchy we tend to mark our tasks strategic. However, we usually participate in planning sessions. We do not design a new strategy for the business.

In a performance and goal driven organization, the HR team has a clear aim to develop attractive and efficient policies and practices. It is about the internal environment, corporate culture and individual and personal commitment of all team members. They are all committed to bringing the most suitable solutions for the business. The mature HR Management practices and policies are always the key driver of any changes in the company. However, how does the company design an excellent and competitive HR strategy?

A great HR Strategy
A great HR Strategy

A story always starts with the leader of the organization. She has to share the vision with the team. She has to engage everyone, and she has to draw a clear picture of the excellent company in the future. The plan cannot be short-term, and it has to be challenging. Easy plans do not raise any personal commitment. Everyone want to be a part of a great story. We all want to be mentioned on the first page of the newspapers (positively).

Next, the leader needs to design or update the business strategy in close collaboration with the team that elaborates the vision in higher detail. The team has to turn the idea into desired objectives and descriptions of the successful accomplishment. It still does not include any specific HR initiatives. It just sets the boundaries for the function in the organization. It puts the essential components of the corporate strategy in place. It also indicates required and preferred skills and competencies. Without the business strategy, HR cannot define its one.

This is the moment for the HR team when it can join the effort. They were represented just by the HR director so far. In larger organizations HR senior managers can be included in strategic talks and discussions. However, from this moment, the team can start formulating the HR mission and the HR strategy. They cannot start before the business is ready to communicate the general vision because employees could not see any connection between the leadership team and Human Resources.

However, it is important to clarify the question of the ownership right from the beginning. The CEO is the owner of the final product; she can delegate the implementation responsibility. She cannot delegate the accountability. If this question is not clearly answered, the team will bring a solution that is never implemented. A great HR strategy usually brings significant gains, but it also pains.

Moreover, there is always a close cooperation between the HR and Leadership teams in the performance driven organization. It creates the internal environment that supports and enables creativity, a competitiveness and the collaboration across teams. This business always defines and implements the open and honest corporate culture. During all sessions the participation of senior managers from other functions is essential. This is the best way how to make sure that all immediate and valuable feedback is incorporated.

Human Resources has to produce the functional story from the wider business one. Each strategy has to tell a story that is attractive to the audience. Employees have to see the clear future, and they have to find a clear position in it. They have to dream about the challenging journey. They have to imagine all benefits.

All HR Managers have to allocate time to communicate and engage. No story can catch all hearts immediately. HR employees have to become the Angels promoting and explaining the content. They have to find all positive examples. They have to present the HR roadmap. They have to explain what are the key milestones.

A great HR strategy is not a complicated document. It is a journey that is challenging and achievable. Employees can recognize that it is not just a dream of a few chosen employees. They have to find a place for everyone who is willing to join the adventure. They have to see much fun. They have to see the recognition for everyone who helps.

HR Analytics is a strong foundation of the HR competitive advantage.

No leader likes to make uninformed decisions. The supporting information and data are the essential part of each strategic document. The leaders require a broader picture to shape the decision. They need information and data as supporting evidence. That is the case for Human Resources; we have to focus on developing and enhancing the HR Analytics and HR Business Intelligence. It is not a story about HR Big Data; we can start with HR data and turning them into useful pieces of information. A modern Human Resources department sets HR KPIs, measures the performance of processes, publishes HR dashboards and tries to project the future using data from the past. That is the best business case for the HR Analytics.

The modern management and leadership are about data and processes. It is not just about grand new visions and ideas. Most leaders require data prepared by employees before they take actions. They usually decide about challenges, the company knows about. They were created in the past; the team can collect useful data and build a business case. Human Resources is not the exception. We can build business cases, as well.

HR Analytics and Competitiveness
HR Analytics and Competitiveness

There are many examples how the HR Analytics can increase the productivity and importance of Human Resources. It just needs to be focused on the entire organization and all business processes. The measurement of HR processes is vital, but it does not say anything about the value of Human Resources for the firm. There are a few stories how the analytics can help HR become better.

The sustainable competitiveness of Human Resources is based on the ability to predict future trends in the organization, industry, and country. It is hard to predict changes on the country and industry level, but we can forecast the development in the company. We just have to work with available data cleverly. The introduction of the HR predictive analytics is the sound basis for the elaboration of a competitive organization.

A vital role in modern Human Resources is the HR Business Partner. The evolution of a competitive advantage always starts with an energetic HR professional. She identifies opportunities both at a client and in the HR department. She acts as a single point of contact for internal customers. She implements new HR solutions in a client’s department. She needs to come with useful data and information, pointing ill and healthy trends in the unit.

The HR Business Partner cannot be just a renamed Recruiter (RPO). She needs to come with challenging proposals. She has to deliver a significant change. In close collaboration with the internal client, she has to analyze data, and they have to act together. This is the key objective of Human Resources – building the competitive organization in close cooperation with internal clients. She needs to support her standpoint with useful HR Dashboards.

The competitive HR Management relies on data and information. The HR leader cannot put all proposals on pure emotions. She needs to mix emotions and exact pieces of data to push the proposal through all difficult conversations. That is the reason why the HR Analytics needs to become a solid foundation of every HR team.

Develop sustainable HR Project Management

The HR department has become a real business partner to other functions in the organization. As the role of Human Resources has enhanced and changed from the service center to the business partner, the urgency of the introduction of the HR Project Management dramatically increased. HR has never run cross-functional projects. However, our business environment dramatically changes – Human Resources has to lead and deliver complex projects, that can impact the performance of the business. HR has to introduce a standardized HR Project Management to survive. No project can be a complete disaster.

The key objective of Human Resources is the continuous development of the sustainable competitive advantage. We have to run challenging cross-functional projects if we want to reach our long-term targets. However, we are not great in managing and delivering large projects that impact the entire company. We usually do not develop HR Project Managers who fully understand the full complexity of the HR agenda.

The competitiveness is a challenge. Being the employer of choice does not come at a low price. The organization needs to cultivate its corporate culture, and it has to design HR processes and procedures that make the collaboration easy and straightforward. Human Resources has to enforce the change of the culture, and managers have to adapt to new ways of leading employees.

HR Project Management
HR Project Management

The project and program management skills and competencies are becoming the core requirements for new HR professionals. They have to be able to act as smart project managers who can manage a complex project that changes the corporate culture. HR projects seem to be soft; they are tough to deliver. Changing people’s minds is a challenging task. It needs much courage to accept such a mission. The demand for brave HR Project Managers will be enormous; you should start developing your ones right now.

We need to start with a clear definition of the HR project. We usually do not see the scope of the activity before we are in troubles. We do not think in steps; we do not think what stakeholders will be impacted by changes. We just make a proposal that gets approved and then we are lost. We just announce delays and obstacles in the delivery of the activity. We need to employ project management skills to manage expectations of our internal business partners.

We have to realize the real scope of change management projects. They usually require much contingency. Most partners need time to swallow and accept changes; HR has to provide guidance. We need to adjust the project management methodology to design the proper HR one. We need our approach how to solve difficult organizational questions.

HR Projects need to start small, and then they can grow big. HR Project Managers need time to learn how to influence other people in the business. Most employees will be resistant to change; they will find many obstacles why the change is not possible right now. They will create a complexity that will slow down the implementation. The HR Project Manager has to learn how to uncover such behavior; she needs to learn how to turn enemies into allies.

The HR Project Management is not the same methodology as in the production or new product development. It is less about tasks and precise deliveries. It is more about the change and the measurement of the new behavior. The HR Project needs clear milestones, but the project needs to be flexible. This is the reason why HR Project Managers are different.